Whoever forms the next government will be under pressure from voters in Galway to redraw the constituency boundaries as a matter of urgency.
While a lot of the conversation nationally concerns water charges and government reform, the voters in Galway simply want their county back.
In Galway East, in particular, a large tract of the constituency is now gone in with Roscommon and for the voters in the likes of Ballinasloe, Ballygar, Glenamaddy and Dunmore, this is not a very favourable situation in their minds.
Many said that, apart from a couple of names on the ballot paper, they were not familiar with the vast majority of candidates who put their names forward.
Roscommon has become the bane of Galway voters for several decades. Back in the seventies and eighties part of the county was in Galway East when Tom Hussey from Glenamaddy was a TD.
Then it was decided that the county boundary would be preserved as the constituency was made into a four-seater back in 1997 and it remained as such until 2012 when 20,000 votes was put into a new Roscommon-dominated constituency.
The whole of Ballinasloe town is in the Roscommon-Galway constituency and yet the vast majority of those with an interest in politics were in New Inn watching the Galway East count almost two weeks ago.
And to add to their frustration, there was no candidate in the field from the Ballinasloe area. In fact the only Galway candidate in the constituency was independent Deputy Mick Fitzmaurice from Glinsk who was successfully returned.
But the vast majority of those from the Ballinasloe area told The Connacht Tribune that they wanted to be part of Galway East and not in Roscommon. They are already lobbying potential government TDs to have to boundaries revised.
Even for voters in Roscommon, it has been confusing. For many years they have been involved in a Roscommon-Longford constituency and then on the last occasion they had to get familiar with candidates in South Leitrim. Now they have a chunk of Galway thrown in with them.
Equally the vast majority of the 7,500 voters in South Mayo do not want to be part of Galway West and they too have expressed the view that the county boundaries should be restored when it comes to voting in a general election.
There was apathy among the voters in areas such as Ballinrobe, Kilmaine and Garrymore when they saw a ballot paper that contained 19 Galway candidates and just one from Mayo – John O’Mahony who failed to win a seat for Fine Gael.
Street fight thugs from viral video outside Garda HQ avoid jail
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two men and a woman who were involved in a ‘staged’ fistfight outside the new Garda HQ in Renmore were warned they will serve prison sentences if they don’t stay off social media for two years.
Suspended sentences were imposed on all three over the incident which was recorded on mobile phone and footage went viral on social media.
The altercation between John Maughan (27), formerly of Rinville Park, Oranmore, who now lives in Dublin, and Patrick Maughan (31), of 122 Laurel Park, Newcastle, was filmed on Patrick Maughan’s phone by his wife, Ellen Maughan (31), who is John Maughan’s sister.
The footage was uploaded that evening to YouTube, where it gained a lot of traction.
Galway District Court heard this week the trio were sitting in their cars when Gardaí arrived at the scene within a matter of minutes.
They were subsequently charged with affray at Dublin Road, Murrough, Renmore, on November 2, 2018, in that all three used or threatened to use violence towards each other, thereby putting other people present in fear for their own safety and the safety of others.
Both men were also charged with breaching the peace.
Garda Pat Casey told the sentence hearing the incident occurred at 2.30pm on the main road between GMIT and the Garda HQ.
He said the men’s cars met, whether by accident or design, at that location where they got out and had a fist fight in the middle of the road.
Judge Mary Fahy asked if the location chosen for the fight, right outside the new Garda HQ, was deliberate.
Garda Casey said the men claimed they met by accident, “but that was where they met”, he added.
“The inference is they did it deliberately outside the Station to make it even better on social media. They are an absolute disgrace to do that in public and to do it in front of their children,” Judge Fahy said.
This is a shortened preview version of this court report. To read the article in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Cycle plans for Galway City get bumpy ride from councillors
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A €24 million plan to transform the greater urban area into a cycle friendly zone got a bumpy ride when introduced to city councillors at a meeting this week.
Councillors were presented with four consultants’ report outlining a framework for the narrowing of many city roads to facilitate cycle lanes and better pedestrian access.
However, several councillors hit out at the way the cycling proposals which were presented to them just hours before their scheduled meeting.
Former Mayor of Galway, Cllr Frank Fahey (FG) said that it just wasn’t good enough to have to consider such detailed proposals on city transport issues after only being emailed the details that morning shortly after 11am.
Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind), said that there was no joined-up thinking as regards the proposals and he asked if the residents of the east side of the city were consulted about what was being proposed.
“There is a real issue here with communication and consultation. We have businesses in Salthill that are down €25 million in terms of their business turnover and yet there was no consultation with them. It’s absolutely crazy going forward with no consultation,” said Cllr McDonnell.
Independent Knocknacarra councillor, Donal Lyons said that he had only received these detailed consultants’ reports just four hours before the meeting – he also wanted to know why Salthill was being treated differently to other areas.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the proposals, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Four-storey apartment block planned at Renmore cottage site
Planning permission has been sought to construct a four-storey apartment block and three two-storey homes on a 0.8-acre site off the Renmore Road.
K King Construction Ltd is proposing to demolish the existing cottage at 78 Renmore Road to create access to the site, which backs onto Nolan Park.
The plans include 19 residential units in all, consisting of three detached four-bed houses to the south of the site, adjacent to Dún na Mara; 10 two-bed apartments and six one-bed apartments, to be accessed by a new vehicular entrance road where the cottage currently stands.
According to the planning application, the development would provide “a positive net gain of new residential units on an under-utilised infill plot” on lands which are zoned ‘Residential’ in the City Development Plan.
Some 22 car parking spaces are to be provided on-site – two for each detached house and one space per apartment unit; in addition, 34 covered bicycle parking spaces are provided for.
Each apartment will have a balcony while a children’s playground is proposed for an area south of the apartment block.
The materials and finish of the buildings are to be similar to those used in the adjacent Dún na Mara development that was completed in recent years by the same developer.
The development would include provision for new pedestrian access for residents to Nolan Park/Renmore Playing Fields by utilising “previously inaccessible” recreation and amenity lands.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.